Anthony Joshua looks set to face Jarrell Miller in late summer over in the United States before a mandatory defence against Alexander Povetkin – or vice versa.
With plenty of talk about a massive undisputed battle with Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion will likely be frozen out until 2019 as Joshua goes through the motions of making the eventual fight an even bigger affair.
Sky Sports’ Adam Smith, the Head of Boxing TV for Joshua’s promotional company at Matchroom, recently told WBN the Wilder fight would be on the backburner until 2019, with Povetkin and Miller now the most probable opponents.
Miller represents an opportunity for Joshua to finally give the American public a birds-eye view of the top division ruler, whilst Povetkin has been ordered as a defence for Joshua by both the WBO and WBA.
Povetkin also features on the undercard to Joshua’s battle with Joseph Parker, with only the finer details to be sorted out before the pair head into the ring to fight it out for four versions of the world title.
Both have to win in Cardiff, Joshua against Parker and Povetkin against David Price – before promoter Eddie Hearn then sits down with his star fighter to map out where he goes next.
Wilder would probably be better off agreeing to a defence of his green strap against Dillian Whyte, with a victory clause inserted into the contract insisting Joshua will agree the fight in the first part of 2019.
Joshua v Miller / Wilder v Whyte could even form part of a USA double-header, although TV matters would have to be sorted out between HBO and Showtime due to conflictions with the boxers involved.
Miller’s next outing is on HBO against Johann Duahaupas, whilst Whyte was also featured with the broadcasters for his latest crushing knockout against Lucas Browne in London.
Joshua and Wilder, on the other hand, are both big names with Showtime.
A win for Wilder over Whyte on home soil, which could double up as a WBC mandatory, would also leave the 40-0 puncher free to feature with Joshua on his UK bill against Povetkin before an undisputed meeting a few months later.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay